William Eichler 21 October 2019

Joint venture unlocks ‘biggest brownfield’ site in the Black Country

Joint venture unlocks ‘biggest brownfield’ site in the Black Country  image

Former industrial land in Sandwell is set to be the site of a 750-home community after a deal was struck by the local council and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

A joint venture between Sandwell Council and WMCA purchased the site from Midlands Land Portfolio Ltd, the property development arm of Severn Trent plc.

The area, located in Friar Park in Wednesbury, is the equivalent of more than 32 football pitches which makes it the biggest brownfield housing site in the region.

The WMCA, of which Sandwell is a member, will fund a clean-up of the land, which has been home to a hospital and iron foundry in the past. A masterplan for the site will then be developed, with community consultation, before development partners are brought on board.

‘This prominent site, one of the biggest in the Black Country, has sat derelict for more than 30 years with no developer taking it on,’ said Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA.

‘It cannot be right that our green belt is being targeted for new homes while major sites like this are left untouched year after year.

‘The WMCA is embarking on a ‘brownfield first’ policy for this exact reason, and I am delighted that we have been able to strike this latest deal alongside Sandwell Council and Seven Trent.

‘Together, thanks to this landmark deal, we can ease the pressure on greenbelt land whilst also delivering good quality homes for local people.’

Sandwell Council leader Cllr Yvonne Davies said: ‘The Friar Park deal will see the combined authority and Sandwell Council working together to secure new homes that are of a high design quality, energy efficient and affordable.

‘There will also be provision for homes built using modular construction techniques.

‘The scheme will also include on-site apprenticeships and training for local people so they can learn the construction skills needed to build the new homes. This supports a key priority of the Sandwell Inclusive Economy Deal.

‘We are proud as an authority to be providing a national exemplar of partnership working to drive forward growth and opportunity in our borough.’

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